DIETRICH – Blend in a little talent and the blue-collar attitude of the two-time and reigning state champions complete with a gigantic target on their back and add in another team from the country with nothing resembling a target and nothing to lose, and you have the two teams in the battle for the championship of the 1A-II District IV Tournament.
After four sets of slugging it out, the little team that could, the Dietrich Blue Devils, won the fight and walked away with the trophy. After losing the first set, 25-22, Dietrich rallied back winning the next three sets, 25-22, 25-20 and 25-20, knocking off the Lions.
Lighthouse Christian has one of the tallest top hitters in the state, Jackie Van Vliet. Dietrich had no one to match up with Van Vliet in height, but the Blue Devils had Katee Hubert, who used her strength and heart to make up for what she lacked.
The fiery pair of Hubert and Jacey Shaw sparked Dietrich and with the other team members following their example, were able to pull off the win. Part of the success for the Blue Devils came from not dwelling on any errors or mistakes and pacing them selves for what turned out to be a long battle.
“I’ve learned from playing Jackie,” said Hubert. “She is a good player and very smart. Coach said we had to play this match with heart and a lot of energy.”
Shaw ended the match with a team-high 18 kills and Hubert added 14. Perron dished out 29 assists and had 14 digs.
“Our game plan was to try to keep them out of their system,” said Dietrich coach Traci Perron. “We tried to put the ball to the weaker players to make it hard to set the ball to Jackie. Our libero, Mesa Heimerdinger played a fantastic match and our setter, Ryann Perron put the ball in play.”
Despite Dietrich's attempts to play away from van Vliet, she had a match-high 21 kills for the Lions, while Jessica Lund added 10. But nobody else had more than two.
Lighthouse Christian is big on depth and versatility and has played at a high level for the last couple of years, but it found out the hard way that there are several players that lacked the experience of being in this type of intense situation.
“We are going to work hard on going over these kind of situations to get ready when we face them again,” said Lighthouse Christian coach Tobie Helman. “Being consistent was our issue tonight and we need to find it.”